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  • Writer's pictureJulie Galloway, LPC-RPT

Lessons from a Shrinky Dink-The Individual Edition (Part One)

A shrink is a noun and an informal term used to describe a clinical psychologist, psychiatrist or a psychotherapist. The term refers to shrinking heads of enemies and was used in 1960 as a joke.

Shrinky dinks became popular in the 80s and are a creative activity that consists of sheets of polystyrene which are cut into shapes, colored and heated for a cool end result.

The combination of the two seem about right for this psychotherapist and lover of play therapy.

Did you know that most counselors become counselors because someone helped them through a difficult life journey?

  • It's true... that's exactly how I ended up on this side of the couch or at my office, a chair. I went from a hotmess to a psychotherapist. And I really want to share the top game changers that I wish I knew when the Shrinky Dink made it debut.

I think back at my younger self, the one that had the biggest permed hair and a chip on her shoulder (see picture below for evidence). I sit back now and wonder how did I and the people around me survive the roller coaster ride of adolescences without a counselor? So, I decided to cut out a few of my favorites.

Here is the first installment of what I believe are shrinkable learning lessons that I share with my clients...almost daily that I wish I knew way back in the 1980s.

Join me as I color up your world and heat it up for a cool end result. (hence the Shrinky Dink)

Lesson # 1- Coping skills are life savers.

I have had thousands...really thousands of conversations with clients about the importance of knowing, using and gaining effective coping skills. Most people (especially my adult clients) don't even know what a coping skill really is. So here is the 10 cent version. For more than 10 cents you gotta book an appointment with a counselor. (Sorry, I just had to insert a plug for my profession)

  • Coping skills are strategies and techniques that are the tools that help you handle difficult life situations especially for difficult emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness, and feeling overwhelmed. They also decrease stress and help create inner peace when we recieve bad news or have a hard day.

  • Coping skills are techiques best used in a habitual way and are practiced to make them most effective and taylor made for YOU.

  • Some coping skills are used in a proactive manner (before we really need them) and some are reactive (in the moment). You need way more than one and alcohol or other substances do not count for coping skills...I know but they don't.

Lesson # 2- The now and later flavor of self-esteem.

I am are two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality. The things we say to ourselves or about ourselves have a huge impact on our lives... now and later. No matter who you are...someone told you or you have read that self-esteem is important. Self esteem, in a nutshell is what you think about yourself and overall abilities. It really is a major factor in our now and later life choices and basically overall life satisfaction. Self-esteem can be measured high, low or somewhere in the middle.

  • Low self-esteem leads to depression, lost potential, and is more receptive to unhealthy relationships and situations. It can also be the reason for feelings of insecurity, low motivation or no motivation.

  • Too much self-esteem and you look like an entitled, self-centered, arrogant, never wrong human. Just incase someone hasn't told you.. people are more understanding of a person struggling with low self-esteem however people are NOT going to like someone with high ever.

  • In the middle is where the magic is... It is a solid resource for positive life outcomes. Healthy self-esteem is the highest factor to our connections with what we all want..achievements, healthy relationships and overall life satisfaction.

Lesson # 3- Thoughts are not facts.

Just because you think it, it does not mean it's reality. Check for there evidence that what I am telling myself is factual?

  • If you tend to think negatively about yourself and others, that's called Irrational Thinking and it's a thinking trap.

  • If you think you are God's gift to others, you might fall in the delusional category. Delusional thoughts are faulty judgements and a false beliefs, despite clear proof that you are wrong.

  • If you think everything and everyone is happy, lovely, wonderful 24/7 then that might fall into this idea of Toxic Positivity. This actually tends to lead to feelings of guilt, shame and thinking traps about yourself and others. (Think social media posts people!)

Lesson # 4- Check your communication engine.

We all want to feel heard and that our words and ideas have value. Most people struggle to effectively communicate and this leads to arguments, hurt feelings, anger and depression. Communication skill building is essential for every single human on the planet.

  • Understanding your communication style and adjusting if necessary is vital for success.

  • Non-verbal communication weighs way more than the actual word choice.

  • Knowing when to share your ideas and thoughts is a win win for everyone.

  • Most importantly is your ability to actively listen.

Lesson #5- Seeking a counselor is healthy for everyone.

  • You don't have to have major problems or mental health issues but you could be struggling with feeling unhappy at school or work, need guidance in career, parenting tips and weight issues to anxiety, fear, depression and anger.

  • Clients typically will seek counseling when in crisis but we love it when clients come in for a self-care check up.

  • You will not be considered insane, defective or broken if you seek help from a counselor. Counselors are capable of helping people through the big and small life challenges.

  • Seeing a counselor is not a negative reflection on you or your family, counselors are vessels of information, resources and professionals with a trained ear.

  • We provide one of the few environments that will guarantee a judgement free zone. There is truly not much that could shock a seasoned counselor. We hear the good, bad and the ugly and that's exactly what we expect.

STAY TUNED for lessons 5 through 10 (EDITION FOR THE INDIVIDUAL)

If you like what you read and you want to schedule an appointment please check out or call 337-258-5199. Please share and like us on Facebook and Instagram.

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